Author: Priscilla Wan
For many of us, today is the first day back to school! Have you considered setting new SMART goals for the start of the school year? It is common to set SMART goals for yourself in the new year however it is not too late to create new goals in September!
Haven’t heard of SMART goals before? They are goals that are more specific and are more measurable throughout your progress. How do you know if your goals are SMART?
Specific: Create detailed, concise and clear goals of what needs to be achieved with a fully constructed result.
Measurable: How will you be able to keep track of your progress?
Achievable: Is this goal realistic? Are you able to attain this goal within the reasonable amount of time mentioned in the goal?
Relevant: Is there a purpose along with the goal you have made? Is it the right time to set this goal and are you able to continue going through with the goal?
Timely: How soon or long will it take to complete your goals? Is it a reasonable period of time for you to attain them?
Following these criteria can create detailed goals and tracking your process can become a lot easier as you allow yourself a set time to accomplish these goals!
School is approaching faster than we expected. How should we help our children protect their health as they go back to school?
Choosing the Right Backpack
First you should consider the backpack your child currently has. Does it seem like it is time for a new one? Here are some tips you may use to help your child find the right backpack without harming your child’s back.
- Have your child’s backpack weight distributed evenly so each side of the body receives the same level of stress.
- They should wear two shoulder strap bags rather than one strap as it can help prevent the spine from curving onto one side more than the other.
- Have the backpack closely attached to your back. The further away it is from your back, the harder it is to achieve proper balance.
- Make sure the backpack does not hang 4 inches below the waistline.
- Buy adjustable shoulder straps that fits your child.
How do you Know if it Fits?
Now that you have considered the aspects of the backpack, how would you know if it is actually good for your child? It is time to ask them some questions.
- Help your children figure out what needs to put in their backpack. The heaviest items should be in the middle of the backpack to prevent curving of the spine.
- Ask your child if they are experiencing any discomfort.
- Inform them to wear both straps rather than one.
- Encourage them to reduce backpack wearing times. If there is a place to put down their backpack then suggest them to do that to give your back a rest.
- Monitor their posture and backpacks overtime to see if the straps are still adjustable and the backpack weight is evenly distributed.
Keeping the Same Level of Exercise
With school comes homework and assignments. This can mean that your child will be inside and sitting more often. Encourage them to play sports with their friends, especially on a sunny day. If not, remind them to take a rest after an hour of sitting or laying down to walk around the house and do some stretches. Try to recommend these different levels of physical activity for your child’s active life. The 3 different types are: moderate aerobic exercise, vigorous aerobic exercise, and strengthening activities.
If you and your child follow these suggested tips, it can keep your lifestyle bad-posture free and healthy.
Snoring. This sound can be irritable to others however very often uncontrollable as you are sleeping when this occurs. First of all, why do we snore?
Snoring occurs when the air is passing through the relaxed tissues in your throat and produces vibrations, which is the sound you hear. In general, snoring is not harmful but it can also indicate serious health problems.
Causes for Snoring
- Alcohol consumption: drinking alcohol relaxes your muscles which can decrease your airway
- Sleep position: sleeping in certain positions can cause gravity to affect your airway
- Sleep deprivation: not having enough sleep can result in relaxation of the throat
- Obstructive sleep apnea: your airway is partially blocked which affects your breathing and snoring can occur due to decreased airway
- Reduce alcohol consumption
- Nasal strips
- Losing weight
- Sleep position
- Limit your smoking
- Treat chronic allergies
If you know a loved one who experience snoring, take into consideration that it can be a health issue rather than just an annoyance!
We all experience a little bit of neck pain from time to time but there are many easy ways to avoid having that neck pain.
Neck pain can occur when the neck muscles are strained due to poor sitting posture and sleeping posture. Most neck pains gradually leave on their own but in rare cases, it can lead to numbness or pain that radiates down your arm, which is quite severe and you should seek medical care. Experiencing neck pain can mean your body is indicating that you are performing movements that is straining on the muscles.
One common problem associated with neck pain is when you constantly look down on your cell phone. This is known as “text neck“. As you spend so much time looking down at your phone, your neck starts to bent forward and can lead to more problems such as pain on the shoulders and back.
Here are some tips you can try to ease your neck pain:
- Try to switch into different positions: Do not stay in the same position for a long time, you can try getting up and walking around the house to drink some water and then go back to your phone.
- Stretching your neck: By stretching and strengthening your neck and back muscles, you are able to hold up your posture better which can help reduce the amount of neck pain you may be experiencing.
- Make ergonomic adjustments: Try elevating your laptop or monitor screen to eye level so you can prevent from bending your neck forward and causing extra strain.
- Use the right amount of pillows: Do not try to layer up a bunch of pillows as it can affect your neck’s range of motion
- Have a good amount of sleep: Sleeping helps your body heal, and also reduce any musculoskeletal pain
If these tips are not helpful, it is always safer to see a practitioner about your recurring neck pain!
Do you ever have trouble falling asleep? If yes, you are not alone! Many of us have trouble falling asleep once in a while and some of us experience insomnia quite often. Thankfully here are some tips to help fall asleep, stay asleep, or prevent from waking up too early.
First let’s reveal some reasons as to why you having trouble sleeping. This can be due to your diet, work lifestyle and your stress levels.
One reason could be your diet. If you tend to skip breakfast a lot then your hormonal level changes throughout the day which can affect your sleep schedule. Our bodies need the right nutrients to complete biochemical mechanisms which regulate our system, such as our sleeping pattern. Another reason is that your sleep schedule is inconsistent therefore you are unable to receive the suggested hours of sleep per day. A third reason is alcohol. Drinking alcohol can affect your sleep pattern because as your body is breaking down the alcohol level in your blood it can tend to wake you up in the middle of the night or interrupt your sleep by having you wake up earlier.
Here are some tips to help your regain your sleep pattern back to a healthy lifestyle!
Try to dim the lights in your room and prevent from going on your devices 30 minutes prior to the time you want to sleep. Having a consistent sleep schedule by waking up and going to bed at the same time everyday can help regulate your sleep and prevent you from waking up throughout the night. If you notice that your mind is always wandering at night, try to do breathing exercises to help calm your mind from stress. If these methods do not work for you and you have been awake in bed for 20 minutes, try to get up and do different activities then try going back to bed. If you are someone who consume caffeine during the day, try to avoid drinking caffeinated drinks after 2pm. Another strategy to try is to exercise regularly which can help you fall asleep easier.
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, can be quite life-threatening if the conditions are not controlled. Hypertension is when your arteries are experiencing higher-than-normal pressure which causes extra stress on the vessel walls. A normal blood pressure is approximately 120/80 mmHg. For this condition to become If the walls are damaged or has a tear then other health problems can occur such as Atherosclerosis. High blood pressure can affect the function of other organs and can cause heart failure leading to heart attacks and strokes.
A reason why this condition is dangerous because there are usually no symptoms so many individuals will not know if they have hypertension until something serious occurs or if they visit their family doctor.
There are many factors that contribute to high blood pressure, including drinking alcohol on a regular basis, over consumption of salt, not enough physical activity and obesity, or having hypertension in family history.
If caught early, you can control your lifestyle and lower your blood pressure.
Changing your diet and the amount of physical activity you do can greatly impact your blood pressure. Consider having meals with less sodium and reduce your alcohol intake. When exercising, try to maintain 30 minutes of physical activity everyday which can help lower your blood pressure. Even learning to manage your stress can greatly reduce the pressure on your vessel walls.
Have you ever considered doing your exercises in the lake or a swimming pool? Exercising in the water can be beneficial for your body and it can be fun to switch up your work out routine once in a while to keep yourself motivated!
Here are some benefits when you exercise in water:
- Low impact on your joints: As you exercise in water, there is buoyancy which help you float and reduce the amount of stress on your joints when you have contact with the ground. Therefore, a lower risk of injuring your joints.
- It can lower your chances of overheating: When your body core temperature is higher than optimal, your body begins to counteract that through sweating. By working out in cold water, it helps you cool off faster so overheating can be prevented. When working out in warm water, it can increase your blood flow and remove toxins in your body.
- There is water resistance: Exercising in water can increase resistance on your body which is beneficial for muscle strengthening and toning without having to carry extra weights.
- Helps with your cardiovascular system: For some individuals, they may think that recreational swimming is a lot more relaxing than running on a treadmill. By lowering your stress, you are protecting your cardiovascular system since your blood pressure can be lower. A study show that recreational swimming can burn the same amount of calories as brisk walking.
Exercising on land may be difficult for some individuals so attempting water aerobics can be a great alternative for someone who would still like to stay active. Anyone can try exercising in water and should consider it as a routine in your weekly activities just to train differently, strengthen your muscles and stay healthy.
Have you been feeling stressed lately? Do you experience anxiety and stress frequently? Maybe you should try yoga.
Yoga can help with posture and stretching of the muscles. By fixing your posture, it can help reduce chronic pain you may be experiencing.
What are the benefits of doing yoga?
Lots of activation of different muscle groups are required in order to hold a pose and this can strengthen them. Yoga is also a stress reliever and sometimes when you are stressed, your body tenses up and back pain can occur. By relieving stress, you can reduce the chances of back pain because you are no longer put much stress and tension on these muscles and strengthening the back muscles makes them stronger and able to support your spine.
Every individual is able to try out yoga as it can help improve flexibility and the poses can be easily followed. However, pregnant women should take caution when trying out certain yoga poses as it can be dangerous for the baby. You can also try out yoga poses at home after a 9-5 shift at work so commitment is not something you need to be worried about.
Many of us do not exceed the minimal intake of nutrients we need daily. Some of us consume too much sugar and fats that our bodies actually require and that can lead to health problems. Many individuals tend to lean towards dieting in order to lose weight and some individuals continue to stay on their current diet and exercise at the gym instead. Both of these situations may cause harm to your body even if you do not notice the changes. We always hear people telling us to eat healthy or go on a healthy diet but what does it consist of?
Firstly, there is the Food guide we can refer to. Taking the recommended servings in each age group and food group is a great start to help your body get what it needs for energy.
If you are not confident about the servings you are consuming daily, then why not learn to cook healthy meals at home? This way, it is easier to measure how many servings of each food group you are consuming and you tend to know more about the ingredients you are using while making a home-cooked meal. Cooking a meal at home also lets you head out to the grocery store and know the products you are buying and consuming. Some food products can be local while some are not. Some restaurants do not indicate where their source of food is coming from but some grocery stores indicate whether their source of food coming is locally or not.
Some individuals like to go on a diet to help lose weight and become healthier but they also avoid carbohydrates. However, carbohydrates are good for your diet and some are healthier than others. There are 3 types of carbohydrates: sugar, starch, and fiber. Sugar has the highest glycemic index compared to all three carbohydrates, meaning it has the potential to raise your blood sugar level the easiest.
How can we incorporate carbohydrates into our healthy diet?
Our body uses glucose for energy and we get glucose from carbohydrates. This is why it is important to consume carbohydrates in our diet and not eliminate them in order to lose weight. We need to know which carbohydrates are healthy and good for us and which ones that are bad for us. Consuming fresh fruits and vegetables are good for us. This is because there are not added sugar in these produce. When trying to take in starch, choose whole grains or legumes since they have a lower glycemic index and contain nutrients that your body requires such as B vitamins and fiber. Sugar is still important for your body to function but it only requires a small amount so limiting your sugar intake would be beneficial.
Scoliosis is a condition where the curve in your spine is abnormal. Normally, your spine has a natural “S” shape but individuals with scoliosis tend to have their spine curved sideways. From the posterior view, individuals with scoliosis will not have a straight spine but a slight C curve. Most cases of scoliosis are mild however some cases can be severe which can lead to health problems. The causes of scoliosis is still unknown but can be hereditary.
Who is at risk?
There are many factors that may contribute to scoliosis:
- Age: During puberty, signs and symptoms are most commonly diagnosed
- Sex: Girls tend to be at a higher risk than boys to develop scoliosis
- Genetics: As this condition is hereditary, individuals who have family members who suffer from scoliosis may have a higher risk of developing it
If you have a mild case of scoliosis, there should not be a high risk of complications. However, some complications may occur for this condition, such as lung and heart damage, and back problems. Surgery may be recommended if you suffer from severe scoliosis. Other non-surgical treatments include wearing a brace or just observations from a doctor for mild cases of scoliosis.
Signs and symptoms of scoliosis may not seem that obvious. One sign to look for is usually uneven hips or shoulder blades. It is always best to consult with a doctor to prevent a mild case of scoliosis into a more severe case!